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HR Professionals and Community Engagement: Profession Benefits May 13th, 2013

The opinions are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official views of Endeavour.

This blog post is the first of three parts by Endeavour board member Dave Nanderam, President, TapestryBuilder.

There is a long history of community engagement within some professional groups. The most obvious is the legal profession and its hallmark of pro bono legal aid which is promoted at the association level[1]. The accounting profession also deserves noteworthy mention. More recently other professional associations, like architecture, have created their own space for building social sector capacity through professional contributions[2].  The human resources (HR) function now has an opportunity to simultaneously build a stronger professional brand through community engagement efforts as well as address organizational priorities in the human capital management space.

Aside from a few national/international brands, most non-profits (NPs) do not have articulated talent management strategies or dedicated HR expertise. Most available resources tend to concentrate on supporting operational practices such as developing job description templates and less on the benefits of strategic HR planning. In the absence of such planning, they are likely under-utilizing volunteer expertise. NPs that do have dedicated HR talent would be the first to confirm that aside from salary considerations, there is virtually no difference between employee engagement and volunteer engagement. The endgame in either type of organization setting is the same: strategically deploy talent to achieve a desired organization outcome.

Increased cross-sector HR dialogue can:

  • encourage intellectual capital transfer and
  • impact  the perceived gap in how HR contributions are valued across sectors.

This perceived difference may partially explain some of the current variation in cross-sector compensation levels. The relationship of job worth and job value is a topic for another day though[3].

Feel free to share your comments below and stay tuned for part two of David’s blog post on employer benefits on Wednesday.

[1] Source:
[2] Source:
[3] Point factor job evaluation systems will usually generate similar total points for Executive Directors and President/CEOs on job dimensions such as complexity of decision making, problem solving and nature of working relationships.

This blog post was originally featured on We’ve re-published it here in three parts with permission.

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